As we approach January it is fair to say that it is not the nicest month of the year. It can often be a mix of both pros and cons. The pros being that you are at the beginning of a brand new year. You feel like you have the chance to wipe the slate clean, start again and really focus on the things you want to do. However, the cons can be that you can feel a little down and even depressed at times. The weather isn’t great, it’s cold, dark and miserable. The bills are suddenly landing on your doorstep because you may have over indulged during the festive period, and you can feel like all you want to do is close the door on life and wake up in the spring. You are not alone. 

If your year has been tough, there may even be added pressure to make sure that you have the best year yet. In general, many people use the new year as a chance to make some goals and resolutions, and try and plan the changes they want to make. But often, if things don’t happen in that first week you just forget about it or move on. The truth is, you don’t need to start on the first day of the month, January is month one, so use the whole month to make some changes and focus on exactly what will serve you well this year. There is still time to think about this. So here are some ideas to help you get started.       

Become a healthier version of yourself

As the first day approaches you may be wanting to make health your priority this year. There are a lot of different techniques that you can try that can help you to be healthier. Many people start extreme diets or detoxes in January, but the truth is, these are just not sustainable on a long term basis. So why not make the decision to be a healthier version of yourself? Look at the food you eat and choose to have a more balanced approach. You could even look at changing your diet such as trying a vegetarian or vegan way of life instead. There are many health benefits for doing this, and could be a long term goal and change for the new year ahead. 

Find some healthy, clean eating cookbooks to help you on your healthy eating journey.

Make a choice to be more active

While you may be looking at your diets, you might also like to be physically fit an able. Many people join in a gym in January, and have great intentions, but at the same time you need to ensure that you can keep it up and a lot of people lose momentum and get a little bored when they don’t feel great straight away. Instead why not choose to be more active. It could be that you walk somewhere one day, and do a gym session the next. It might be that you choose to take the stairs one day and then attend a class on another. As long as you choose to be active each and everyday then you will start to see a real difference. 

What about the future in terms of where you live?

You could be in a situation where you are living with parents, renting, or needing to move house and on to the next chapter of your life. Is this the year you decide to make this change? A property purchase of any kind is going to be one of the biggest purchases that you make in your lifetime, so it is understandable that you will want to be cautious about it. It could be you need to look at a refinance calculator or speak with a mortgage advisor to better understand your situation. The more you take the right steps and consider your deposits, and affordability, the more you will be able to make this your reality in the new year. However, this is a long drawn out process so it might not be until towards the end of the year that you make this happen for yourself. Don’t get disheartened if there are a few setbacks along the way. 

Do you need to think about your finances?

Another thing that you might need to focus on is your financial situation. This year has been very hard for a lot of people due to losing jobs, having to reduce hours or work from home. So you may find that you are not in the best possible situation when it comes to your finances. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make this the year you get out of debt free up income and make the most of the money and savings that you have. If debt is a problem, start to look at it for what it is rather than bury your head in the sand. The more you start to pay off those debts, the more you can feel more in control of the situation. If you want more disposable income, then start to look at your spending. Reduce your outgoings where you can, switch providers for things like insurance or energy and make some extra income where possible. That could be selling unwanted things online, side hustles that you do from your laptop or even things making more of a hobby or a business idea you have. The more you do and actively try and change the situation, the better position you will be in. 

Changes to your family or personal situation

A common goal that may have is making changes to their personal situation or family, so is this the year that you want to make some big changes? Perhaps it is time you got married. Maybe you want to have children, and think now is the ideal time to officially start trying to conceive and make it a reality. Of course, these things take time, planning and also when it comes to children we can never predict what Mother Nature has in store for us. But knowing that these are your goals can help you to put the right plans in place to make them potentially happen for you. Weddings and children also require a rethink of budgets and affordability. So it may tie in well with you making changes to your financial situation and getting back on track. 

Is it time to finally tackle the things that could be holding you back? 

Are there habits in your life that now need some focus to diminish? We all have vices that we would like to stop, and now this could be the year that you choose to do it. Maybe you want to stop drinking, or perhaps change your relationship with alcohol a little. Maybe you need some serious help when it comes to other things that might be holding you back where extra medical intervention or rehabilitation clinics could be the answer. It might be that you want to quit smoking as you know that it could be causing you health problems now or in the future. Whatever it is that you feel is holding you back, take actionable steps to get to next year without them in your life. It might feel like a long road, but it could be the best thing you do. 

Maybe your career needs to be changed

Do you need to think about a career change this year? Again this is somehting that just can’t be changed in that first week of January. You need to be able to figure out exactly what you want to do, understand the steps to make it happen, and then have the courage to make it your reality. It could be that you need to study more to help you achieve the qualifications necessary. Perhaps having to consider learning from home or extra classes at a local college to gain a degree or specific qualification you need. Having steps in front of you makes it easy to stay on track and finally achieve what it is you want to do when it comes to your career. We all spend such a big amount of time working, so it would be nicer to enjoy and feel passionate about what we do. This could also help you in other ways such as securing a pay rise or a better work and home life balance for you.

Let’s hope this has inspired you to make some changes for this year.